Christian Heilmann

Posts Tagged ‘scriptingenabled’

I had an accessibility hacking dream – RIP Scripting Enabled

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Scripting enabled

About two years ago I had a dream and made it reality: I wanted to mix the crazy world of hackdays and unconferences and the world of accessibility.

In hackdays and unconferences developers show in a very short amount of time that they can solve a lot of problems and create great proof of concept products. These proofs can then be taken forward and changed into real products.

In the accessibility world we constantly complain that developers do not care enough about the needs of people with disabilities. We also complain about new technology not being helpful to disability needs or needs of the elderly.

I wanted to marry the enthusiasm of hackdays and the existing urge of developers to solve problems with the real life problems people who use the web have. I also wanted to dispel some myths around accessibility and show that you can be cool and innovative and also care for the needs of everybody.

Therefore I organised Scripting Enabled, a one day conference in which people with different disabilities showed the barriers that keep them from using the web and inviting a group of developers on the following day to build solutions to remove these barriers.

I was successful – I managed to pull off a free conference with a lot of attendees with only £200 out of my own pocket and caused some media attention and recorded a few good videos (which are on Yahoo Video – so I need to move them soon, drat!) raising awareness about disability needs on the web.

What I failed to do was my second agenda: to break down the barrier between the accessibility world and the development world and start a constant flow of hack and accessibility innovation.

I opened the idea of Scripting Enabled to everyone and invited people to hold their own. One other SE was held at Adobe in Seattle but that was it.

I started a mailing list and a Wiki – both dying of spam now and without any activity.

Probably this is all my fault – you just can’t start a new movement and build a community in a very saturated market like the internet is today with Facebook, Twitter, various mailing lists, Quora, Reddit, Stackoverflow and others all competing for our attention.

If I had constantly pushed for Scripting Enabled it might have hit off. I relied on the accessibility community to do that for me – alas, they didn’t and I actually have a hard time naming a working accessibility community that does not revolve around trying to push “accessible products”.

That is why I will archive Scripting Enabled as soon as I have time. I spend a lot of time deleting spam and I feel that there is no point in kicking this horse to trot on. It was a nice dream and a good first run. I am happy I did it but I don’t feel there is a point to try to repeat when there is no communication in two years.

Scripting Enabled Videos are available now (starting with Denise Stephens)

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Last September I was very happy to be able to pull off Scripting Enabled, an accessibility hacking event in London, England. Over two days the speakers, around 150 attendees and 40 hackers educated and learnt about accessibility barriers on the web and – in the case of the hackers – removed some of them.

The event was only possible by partnering with the right people, in this case the Metropolitan University in London, BBC backstage, the Opera Developer Network,, Channel4 and last but so not the least the Yahoo Developer Network.

The presentation slides of the conference have been available and on SlideShare for quite a while now, and I am proud to announce that the Yahoo Developer Network now hosts all the videos of the talks. Opera provided the full transcriptions of the videos and I will now start publishing them one by one on Scripting Enabled.

The first video is Denise Stephens on Multiple Sclerosis and inclusive Design. Denise talks about the he effects of MS and what it means for web design. She also explains her own project, Enabled By Design which tries to bridge the gap between the design and accessibility world much like Scripting Enabled tries to bridge the gap between the developer and the accessibility world.

Reading blinds – a bookmarklet to help me read easier

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I am now a proud user of a 24 inch monitor at work and I realized that when I read large texts, the amount of white on the screen starts to hurt my eyes. Therefore I’ve written a small bookmarklet to black out part of the screen on demand and have a link top left to show and hide the blinds that cover the rest of the content. The blinds are fixed position so that I can scroll the content behind them. I also add padding to the bottom of the document to have enough scrolling space.

Here’s a blog without reading blinds:

A blog without reading blinds

The same blog with reading blinds on:

A blog with reading blinds

The bookmarklet is hosted on my server, to install it simply drag the following link to your links toolbar: Reading Blinds

Interview about Scripting Enabled with BBC Backstage

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

At dconstruct this year, Ian Forrester and Rain Ashford of the BBC backstage interviewed several unsuspecting victims about all kind of things buzzing in the internet scene these days. By a stroke of luck, Bill Thompson was out and about to interview me about my upcoming conference on the 19th and 20th of September in London, England: Scripting Enabled

Here’s the video:

I thank everyone involved for the chance to tell people about the event and I am looking forward to seeing you there!

Scripting Enabled – how accessibilty concerns can fuel mashup innovation

Friday, August 15th, 2008

I just came back from Stanford where I talked about Scripting Enabled, what lead to it, how I build Easy YouTube and generally how giving hack events and unconferences an accessiblity spin can rejuvenate the movement and drive innovation. The slides are available here and the video will follow once Stanford has finished captioning it.

[slideshare id=553629&doc=scriptingenabled-1218646262025037-8&w=425]